Graduate Student Profiles

"Never have I been more mentally, emotionally, and physically challenged"

Sydney Aveson, Expeditionary Studies

SUNY Plattsburgh's women's ice hockey team is what originally sparked my interest in the school, but the Expeditionary Studies program (EXP) sealed the deal.  When I transferred to Plattsburgh as an undergraduate to pursue a bachelor's degree in the program, it was a no brainer decision.  I decided to pick up a double major in Psychology and I minored in Cultural Anthropology to complement my interest in adventure therapy.

Photo of Sydney Aveson
So Much to Explore

Before I pursued my bachelor's degree in EXP, I had no camping, kayaking, climbing or skiing experience.  I always knew that I would find a way to integrate sports into my career, but I wasn't exactly sure how.  EXP broadened my athletic perspective, far beyond a competitive hockey aspect.

Now I have logged well over two hundred days in the field.  I concentrated my studies in paddling and mountaineering.  Over the past three years, I have sea kayaked in Maine, the San Juan Islands in Washington, the Outer Hebrides, and the Isle of Skye in Scotland, paddled alongside dolphins in Virginia, and marveled at the coves in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  In addition, I spent my final semester abroad whitewater rafting in the Yukon and mountaineering in Alaska.  There is so much more to explore!

Ever Upward

My personal motto is “Excelsior,” which is Latin for “Ever upward.” Never have I been challenged more mentally, emotionally, and physically than in EXP, which is why I decided to pursue graduate work in the major. 

One of my favorite experiences in the EXP program was when I taught adults with neurological and developmental challenges how to rock climb, canoe, and other outdoor skills, at the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Center.  These individuals taught me more than I could have ever imagined.  While working there, I saw the benefit of outdoor recreation as a therapy tool.  This inspired me to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and attempt a circumnavigation of Newfoundland by sea kayak with my partner, Jonathan Trzepkowski.

A lot of people ask me about the job prospects in this field.  Not everybody who graduates from EXP ends up doing the same thing.  Some have gone on to work for the National Park Service, or outdoor rehabilitation programs. There are endless job opportunities and I have found that I have a surplus of job offers.  

I am living my life motto.  Can you say the same?


"I wanted to make a difference in this world"

Catherine Caldaroni, Teaching and Learning

My name is Catherine Caldaroni and I am a student in the Teaching and Learning program at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Branch Campus in Queensbury.

Photo of Catherine CaldaroniI have always known that I wanted to make a difference in this world, and in 2005 I took my first steps toward that dream by earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Since then I have been raising my three children and working as a substitute teacher. I am currently a Teaching Assistant in the Reading department at Lake George Elementary School. I love going to work every day and sharing my passion for reading with my students.

A Deeper Knowledge

In the summer of 2013 I found myself at one of life’s many crossroads. The need to continue my education was upon me and I had to take action. It was at that moment that I picked up the phone and dialed the Admissions Office at SUNY Plattsburgh. Several of the teachers I work with are graduates of Plattsburgh and my younger sister was a recent graduate as well. They spoke highly of their experiences in both the MSED and the MST programs. The fact that these recommendations came from some of the best teachers I know reassured me that I was making the right decision.

I entered this program with the hope of furthering my knowledge in the field of education. What I’ve gained has exceeded all of my expectations. I’ve been working with some of the finest professors I have ever had the pleasure to know. They genuinely care for me as their student and go above and beyond in helping me to achieve my goals. I want to work hard for them because it’s obvious how hard they work for me.

Guidance Prepared Me for the Classroom

The work that I began in my first semester set the foundation for all that has followed. The cohesion of each course has allowed me to create valuable, practical, and enduring work that will carry forward into my classroom. My confidence has grown under the guidance of my professors and the encouragement of my peers. My thesis research has allowed me to follow my passion in the field of reading and is not only beneficial to my growth as a professional, but to my colleagues as well.  I’m able to share what I’m learning with them and apply it in practical ways to help our students.

When I do take a break from my coursework I enjoy spending time in nature and reading poetry. My favorite poet W.B. Yeats once said, “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” This program has allowed me to take charge of my education and pursue my passions. I am a more confident and capable teacher today than I was yesterday.


"The fit could not have been more perfect"

Christopher Van Houten, School Psychology

Meet Christopher L. Van Houten, who entered the School Psychology (M.A./C.A.S.) program in 2008, and is now working as a New York state-certified school psychologist in Malone Central School District.

Chris, who completed his master's level coursework in School Psychology in 2011, became interested in his chosen career path after a high school psychology course fascinated and inspired him.  After visiting campus, he decided to attend SUNY Plattsburgh to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Photo of Chris Van HoustenA Perfect Fit

“Between the baseball program, the great reputation of the psychology department, and the laid-back lifestyle of the outdoor life, I was hooked,” he said. By the time he earned his bachelor’s degree, SUNY Plattsburgh’s school psychology program had been granted national accreditation for the Master’s/CAS program.

“The fit could not have been more perfect. The faculty, staff, and coursework gave me the knowledge I needed to be successful in the field, and the skills necessary to apply theory in a real world setting.”

After completing three years of the MA/CAS program, he spent a year working for the Adirondack Arc Children’s Corner program, performing pre-school evaluations and counseling students there. “Working with families within their home environment gave me a strong perspective on where these children were coming from and how their educational careers began,” he said.

He was then hired by the Malone Central School District.

Preparation to Work at the District Level

“I am now in my second year working as a school psychologist between all three (Malone) elementary schools. From undergraduate to graduate school at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the amazing experience I had with the Adirondack Arc, I could not have asked for better preparation for working at the district level.”

Van Houten is a chapter representative for Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties on the executive board for the New York Association of School Psychologists where he coordinates professional development opportunities for area school psychologists, attends quarterly meetings, disseminates information relevant to the practice of school psychology and advocates for children and his profession.

A resident of Plattsburgh, he enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking, and playing baseball and softball in summer leagues.

“I live the cliché life of not really feeling like I am going to ‘work’ because it is not really work at all to me. There is something magical about working at the elementary. Perhaps it is that ‘big kid’ in me smiling back at the younger version of himself, knowing that this is where he was destined to be.”


Contact Information

The Graduate Admissions Office is located on the first floor of the Kehoe Administration Building.

Phone: (518) 564-4723
Toll-Free: (800) 723-9515 (In U.S. and Canada)
FAX: (518) 564-4722

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm

Mailing Address:

Graduate Admissions Office—113 Kehoe
SUNY Plattsburgh
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901-2681 USA